Originally Published: February 24, 2011

Pop quiz

By Eric Sorenson
Special to ESPN.com

Last week we shook the cobwebs of eight months of inactivity as college baseball got out the bats, balls and gloves for the opening weekend. But things will get amped up a bit this weekend as more teams will actually play somebody with a pulse. After having just one three-game series between ranked opponents last weekend, there will be great matchups like Cal State Fullerton-TCU, Stanford-Vanderbilt and Texas-Hawaii this weekend. We'll also start to see more surprise teams and more disappointments get affirmed after the upcoming three games.

The five biggest questions for Week 2:

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Michael ClementsMatt Purke and TCU will face a tough test in Cal State Fullerton.

1. Can Stanford do it again? The Cardinal won two of three at Rice, now they head to face an even more talented arm staff in Vanderbilt. Yikes.

2. Who will win the battle of the aces in Ft. Worth? Fullerton's Noe Ramirez goes up against Frog stud Matt Purke on Friday night in Lupton Stadium. In a word, tasty.

3. Can Hawaii ambush another mainland invader? Last week the Warriors put a pair of losses on top-10 Oregon. Now Texas comes calling. Don't look for this to be a weekend in paradise, Longhorns.

4. Is North Carolina for real? OK, we won't find out much from a three-game set with Seton Hall, but it will be interesting to see whether the Heels have a letdown after last week's uber-successful West Coast trip.

5. Will the attendance boom continue for a second weekend? There were a handful of attendance records broken last weekend, including TCU attracting over 6,000 for the Friday night game with Kansas. In all, 21 programs averaged over 3,000 fans a game for the opening weekend.

South Carolina's talented transfers

By Walter Villa
Special to ESPN.com

Call them The Talented Transfers.

Nearly half of South Carolina's starting hitters on opening day played previously at another college.

Miami Dade College's Adrian Morales started at third, Palm Beach State's Peter Mooney at shortstop, Pensacola's Robert Beary at DH and Florida State transfer Brady Thomas at catcher.

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Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesArian Morales is just one of the impact transfers on South Carolina's roster.

In total, coach Ray Tanner's Gamecocks have nine transfers on this year's roster, and three of them -- Morales, Thomas and reliever Jose Mata (Broward) -- had major roles in helping South Carolina win the 2010 College World Series.

"Coach Tanner said he likes junior college transfers," Morales said, "because we're ready to play right away."

Morales certainly was, being named MVP of the Columbia Regional. Thomas was another immediate hit, making the 2010 CWS All-Tournament team. And Mata was 7-1 with a 2.40 ERA out of the bullpen.

More trends: Of the nine transfers, six came from Florida schools. Three of the transfers came from other four-year schools: Thomas, outfielder Jake Williams (Wofford) and pitcher Logan Munson (North Carolina). All three had success at their previous schools before deciding to return to their home state.

The Gamecocks' other junior college transfers are catcher Dante Rosenberg from Palm Beach, who started the second game this season, and pitcher Bryan Harper (College of Southern Nevada), who went 1 2/3 scoreless innings that same day.

Of this year's crop of junior transfers, Mooney is known as a slick fielder; Williams was a two-year starter at Wofford, hitting .304 with eight homers as a sophomore; and Munson had a 2.61 ERA as a sophomore at North Carolina.

But perhaps the most intriguing story is Harper, the older brother of Bryce Harper, who signed with the Washington Nationals after becoming the first pick in the 2010 MLB draft.

Bryan is a good prospect in his own right. He was 10-1 with a 2.18 ERA in juco ball last season and has already been drafted twice -- 31st round in 2008 and 27th last year.

"He's going to be a big part of this team," Morales said. "He's got good stuff, and he has some swag, too. He's just getting comfortable right now."

Harper and the rest of the newcomers will have plenty of time to "get comfortable." The Gamecocks play 18 of their first 21 games at home and won't leave the state until March 25, when they open a weekend set at the University of Florida, the team many are predicting will replace South Carolina as CWS champs.

The Gamecocks, 3-0 after sweeping Santa Clara last weekend, are led by Jackie Bradley Jr., the star center fielder and likely 2011 first-round pick. Bradley got off to a great start this year with a 4-for-4 performance Friday, just missing a cycle with a homer, double and single.

"He may be the best hitter I've ever played with," Morales said. "He has great instincts in the outfield. He isn't afraid to go 0-2 [count at the plate]. He battles. He competes every practice. He is always smiling, very charismatic."

There is no denying Bradley's skill … but don't forget about the Talented Transfers.

Places to be this weekend

By Eric Sorenson
Special to ESPN.com

We can't be everywhere, but if we could, here's where we'd be:

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Courtesy of Jimhoguephotos.comPeter O'Brien and Bethune-Cookman will have a national stage this weekend.

1. The Urban Youth Academy (Compton, Calif.)
Teams involved: Bethune-Cookman, Southern, Grambling, UC Irvine
Yes, I realize this isn't the marquee teams in the country going head-to-head here, but there are a number of factors that make this the coolest spot to be this weekend in college baseball. This will be the best collection of HBCUs in one place, they'll have the television cameras of the MLB Network and there is the usual handful of Hall of Famers in attendance as well. Oh, and did I mention this is the only venue in the country that will have B-CU and Southern in a battle of the bands? Too good.
Key stat: .487. The usually pitching-heavy Anteaters of UC Irvine are hitting .383 with 22 walks and 12 HBPs in four games, giving them a .487 on-base percentage.
Key matchup: UC Irvine versus Bethune-Cookman. The Wildcats have been the best HBCU program for the past half-decade and once again appear to have the best collection of talent for 2011. My hope is that coach Mervyl Melendez holds ace Ali Simpson to this start on Saturday and gives us a great show against the surprisingly heavy-hitting Anteaters. Simpson K'd 14 in just 6.0 innings of work in last week's first start against Alabama A&M.

2. No. 9 Cal State Fullerton at No. 2 TCU
Both teams had their struggles last week. Fullerton dropped a game to North Carolina in 11 innings and also made the mortal mistake of losing to its rivals in Long Beach State. The Horned Frogs aren't going to lose too many Friday and Saturday games with Matt Purke and Kyle Winkler on the mound. But on Sunday, they dropped a 14-inning 4-3 decision to Kansas.
Key stat: Two-and-one. In 11 combined innings of work last weekend, Purke and Winkler gave up just two hits and one walk.
Key matchup: Fullerton's bullpen versus TCU's offense. I know, the matchup that puts this series up in lights is the Friday night showdown of All-American aces Noe Ramirez and Matt Purke on the mound. But keep an eye on the later innings since the Titans' bullpen was a bit shaky last weekend, including allowing Long Beach to come back from a 4-0 deficit in the Dirtbags' 8-5 win.

3. No. 16 Stanford at No. 4 Vanderbilt
Talk about going from the frying pan to the fire. The Cardinal have their own version of a prison camp death march as they go from a three-gamer at Rice to a weekend at Vanderbilt. Both teams had impressive opening weekends as the Cardinal took two of three from the Owls in Houston and the Commodores went to San Diego and beat the Toreros twice, while also winning a game at San Diego State.
Key stat: The dirty dozen. Vandy hit only .264 in its trip to SoCal last weekend, but the Dores were 12 of 13 in stolen bases.
Key matchup: Stanford's defense versus Vandy's big bats. The Cardinal did almost everything right in their weekend series win at Rice: hitting (a decent .292 against that Rice staff), pitching (a 2.57 ERA) and handling the pressure of a big crowd on the road. But the defense has fielded at a porous .948 level so far. If Stanford gives extra outs to wicked sticks like Aaron Westlake, Jason Esposito and Anthony Gomez, it could be curtains for the Cardinal.

4. The Caravelle Resort Tournament (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
Teams involved: No. 20 Coastal Carolina, California, Kansas State, Western Kentucky, North Carolina State, Pacific
A great six-team weekend for Baseball at the Beach, hosted by Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers had some rough spots last weekend, including a 2-1 loss to Indiana and having to rally mightily to overcome Virginia Tech, so I might even label Kansas State or Cal as having a better-than-average chance of winning the weekend overall. But the Chants might just be working some kinks out and be ready to explode.
Key stat: 4BBs. Keep an eye on CCU ace Anthony Meo. It looks like he'll face a dangerous K-State offense and last week against Boston College, he got in some trouble by issuing four walks and putting runners in scoring position.
Key matchup: Cal versus Coastal Carolina. Rain played havoc with the Bears last weekend, but they eventually took a doubleheader from Utah and then lost a white-knuckler to Stanford on Tuesday. But this is the perfect time for a statement weekend, especially if Meo throws versus KSU on Thursday. This Saturday matchup could favor the Bears, especially if Erik Johnson can repeat last week's 7 IP, 8 K, 0 BB performance.

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Courtesy of TexasPhotoStore.com Hawaii will look to trip up Taylor Jungmann and Texas.

5. No. 7 Texas at Hawaii
I'm sure Augie and his boys took note of how tough Hawaii was on highly regarded Oregon last week, don't you think? The Warriors played three one-run games versus the Ducks and won two of them. It's Week 2 of the season and we may have already found the toughest-minded team in the country.
Key stat: 0-for-4. Hawaii's starting pitchers went winless in the four games last week. Reliever Blair Walters came out of the 'pen to lock down both wins versus UO.
Key matchup: Taylor Jungmann versus Kolten Wong. These two All-Americans should put on a hell of a show. Jungmann was his usual awesomeness, getting a five-hitter versus Maryland, and Wong is picking up right where he left off in the Cape last summer, still hot. The Warriors leader hit .347 against that tough Oregon rotation.

For the full list of places to be, check out ESPN.com's baseball blog.

Eric Sorenson, who runs College Baseball Today, and Walter Villa are regular contributors to ESPN's college baseball coverage. Follow Eric on Twitter: @stitch_head

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